- Get your face in front of clients and prospects on a regular basis;
- Know and use your full arsenal of resources;
- Bring in the boss or experts when necessary;
- Conduct seminars when you can.
Getting in front of clients comes down to communication. I'm sure you've heard and read about this issue before, but that's because it's so crucial. Bad communication is a main reason clients leave their advisors.
How many times have you heard a prospective client say: "Once [the advisor] opened the account, I never saw him again." Or how about this one? "As the market was tanking, I never heard anything."
The advisor who communicates and corresponds with his or her clients and prospects will get larger accounts and also gain new business. Communicating is as simple as sending a postcard. They are inexpensive and won't be discarded without at least being looked at first. Also, be different. Everyone sends Christmas and birthday cards. But you can stand out by sending a card for Halloween or Groundhogs Day.
For those of you who are beholden to compliance departments, try putting your photo on a tri-fold brochure (this approach seems to be okay with many compliance departments). You know the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? A nicely designed postcard with your picture on it could be worth a few grand in gross!
Sending a friendly reminder that it's time for the quarterly review, also keeps you in front of clients and prospects. Newsletters are also a great vehicle to keep the lines of communication open.
Those compliance-ready newsletters are there for your distribution at the wirehouses and some regional firms. Customers and prospects won't realize that all those brilliant ideas aren't yours alone. If you don't send out newsletters, you risk losing clients to those who do.
The next tip to consider in boosting your career is being thoroughly knowledgeable about all the financial planning tools that your firm has to offer, as well as the needs of the various demographics your firm serves. If you aren't completely aware of the various products, platforms and services your firm provides, you do your clients and yourself a great disservice.
The traditional needs-based financial plan hasn't changed much over the years and remains a great tool in the selling cycle. Most managers I have spoken with about this topic believe that advisors who use this knowledge end up with increased sales, as compared to those who don't.
Here are a couple examples of what mangers look for from top advisors.
Tom has been a branch manager with a regional firm in the Midwest for 20 years. He suggests that financial consultants should focus on estate and wealth planning. Tom also believes that advisors should also work on understanding their client's total situation and what investments they may have.
Dan, who has been a branch manager in New Jersey for the past 10 years strongly believes that traditional stocks and bonds can only get an advisor so far. He prefers to see his FAs incorporating alternative investments, like structured products or managed futures. He also suggests that advisors look for unique opportunities for their clients, whether they be in micro-cap companies, or floating rate securities. Dan also likes his brokers to get their clients to be more Internet savvy. When clients are online, they noodle around more and usually find products or services they have questions about-which sometimes leads to more sales.
Another strategy to help you boost your career is remembering that people love to interact with the boss.
I see this even from my vantage point as a small business owner in the recruiting business. I often suggest to my recruiters that if they are on the verge of something with a candidate, but just can't get them to take the next step, bring me into it.
While I can't guarantee that my presence will make things happen, it very often helps in the process. Bringing in the boss adds credibility and knowledge of the industry that people with less than 10 to 15 years experience just don't have. And I know what a lot of you are already thinking: I don't believe my boss has the savvy or know-how to help. If that's the case, you're definitely in the wrong office.
And finally, here is my last suggestion: Host seminars. They are a popular way to increase business. Most wirehouses have up to 40 different compliance pre-approved seminars that you can deliver to current customers and prospects alike. Pick your poison since there's such a wide array of topics to cover.